Sisters Go Bangles


I keep neglecting this entry, and the universe keeps reminding me to write it up.

The Puppini Sisters are a trio of singers who perform in the close-harmony swing style of The Andrews Sisters with great jazz backing. If you don't know who The Andrews Sisters are, (1) wow, I feel old — they were before my time, too, but they should be part of the pop consciousness — and (B) you probably have heard them and just can't put the name to the music. Here, I'll prove it.

Cover to the album 'The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo' with the singers and their instruments (violin, toy piano, accordion) on an antique coach; Marcella Puppini, center, is displaying some decolletage

Earlier this year, on an episode of NBC's Chuck, an Andrews-ish rendition of The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian" started up in the background and I was smitten. A quick round of Googling turned up the Puppinis — a sisterhood formed in the UK in 2004 that actually consists of just one Puppini and two friends, I learn from the trio's Wikipedia entry and a short interview with Marcella Puppini that's linked from it; inspiration was provided by the great French animated film Les Triplettes de Belleville, those Andrews gals, their antecedents The Boswell Sisters, and Marlene Dietrich, among others.

REM Brands


I've had Lost on the brain lately due to peeking in on Nikki Stafford's Rewatch of the series to date and lamenting that I still don't have time to participate. So at least part of the origins of a dream from last night are obvious.

The context of the dream was me reading about an upcoming film in Entertainment Weekly, yet instead of seeing the words on a page (one of the hardest things to do in a dream, by the way) I was seeing the action described in my mind's eye — as if I had peered into Dumbledore's "pensieve" from the Harry Potter books. And that action was Matthew Fox, in his role as Jack on Lost, standing on the turret of a castle while a storm raged. Julia Roberts was playing a version of Evangeline Lilly's Kate or someone connected to her, but she was inside. Jack was shouting amidst the wind and rain about something being unfair; he wore a suit and tie, and at one point dumped the contents of an old-fashioned physician's bag over the wall of the turret. I'm pretty sure the name of the movie was In Absentia.

I have quite vivid dreams and recall at least the most recent one upon waking; sometimes I'll end up remembering others later when actual events jog my memory. They tend not to be too mundane or too bizarre, but there are exceptions: On rare occasions I'll have dreamt a slice of life so ordinary that only later when reality contradicts it will I both remember the dream and realize that it was a dream. Last year during a nasty bout of the flu I dreamt of nothing but thick, syrupy pitch-black shapes moving around.

Usually, though, the dreams are entertainingly improbable if not impossible scenarios like me going to a Survivor reunion after nearly forgetting that I'd been on the show, or Jim Eisenreich giving me a pep talk in the Phillies' locker room before we take the field, or an acquaintance of mine getting me to introduce him to Marlee Matlin after I've moved into a new apartment. Yes, I've gone back to college and even high school. Yes, I've been embarrassingly naked. Yes, I've had sex, which to me pretty well belies the old saw that says when you dream that you're flying you're really thinking about having sex. I've also dreamt that I'm flying, which is utterly amazing and probably my second favorite recurring activity in dreams; number one is spending time with one of my family's dearly departed cats. The following is pretty representative of the levels of reality and unreality of my dreams as well as the tenuous segues they contain.

One of my childhood friends whom I shall call Larry looked not entirely unlike Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live, and while I haven't seen Larry in ages a dream from the other night began with the two of us more or less as adults in a classroom where Hader stood at the chalkboard. I was telling Hader that, like him, Larry did a killer Vincent Price impression, and Hader responded with the news that he was preparing to star in a film that Price had been working on before his death, portraying the main character as Price would have. From there the scene dissolved to what at that moment I clearly felt was supposed to be Hader's description of the film (via the whole rubbing-the-chin, "it seems like it was only yesterday" trick); in this new setting, a bunch of teenagers were lying around waking up from one heck of a party the night before.

What's strange about this transition is that I'm usually the main character in my dreams, as myself or something close to it, and when I'm not it's pretty clear that I'm some kind of omniscient observer, but just an observer; here, though, I could feel my consciousness poking at each one of the awakening bodies until I found the one that I was supposed to inhabit. Once I did so the group went downstairs and was presented breakfast by the mother of whomever had hosted the party, but I immediately noticed that one of us had gone missing. After we searched the house and tried her cell phone, to no avail, I took a car and went on a frantic search in the driving rain, finally arriving at a van whose interior was decked out as a small game-show set — there was just enough room somehow for the host and two contestants, each in front of a lectern like on Jeopardy or The Price Is Right's Showcase Showdown, plus some communications equipment. While in honest-to-gosh real life the missing girl, Cassidy, and I had gone to theater-arts camp together one summer, I explained to the host of the game show (with apologies to the waiting contestants) that I'd met Cassidy when we appeared on the show and I hoped that there might be some clue to her whereabouts in tapes of previous seasons.

Many of my friends are fascinated by the level of a dream's detail that stays with me, not so much in terms of what kind of shirt someone was wearing but the length and twists of the narrative, whereas I consider it part of daily life. I used to write my dreams down regularly, either to note imagery or story potential that could be adapted into a work of fiction or for the purposes of adapting the dreams whole into short comic strips. Drawing anything beyond single figures is an enormously time-consuming, often ultimately frustrating activity for me these days, however, and I haven't done panel-to-panel continuity in years. One friend in particular has been after me to start keeping a dream journal again and perhaps even post prose summaries of select dreams online. I'm guessing that there are scads of both individual and group dream blogs out there, and I don't really want to add another distraction to my plate right now, but if you'd like to recommend a website or share any of your own dreams or thoughts on the subject, I hope you'll visit the comments section or drop me a line.

To Be Continued


The time-honored Internet symbol for blog hiatus,
as I was reminded by a recent post on News from ME

I am officially taking a break from the blog.

The world didn't end just now, and — despite my constant, pleasant surprise at the fact that the blog has a number of actual "followers" — I don't imagine that my lack of posting lately has particularly frustrated anybody but me. Still, I'd rather make the potentially vain proclamation than just let the blog sit here, suspended and untended, like another tendril of dead virtual kudzu.

While attention must be paid to some other aspects of my life, I hope and expect that in addressing them I'll be able to return to the blog before too long with renewed purpose and organization. You might yet see some nearly finished reviews or a totally awesome link pop up here on occasion if things go smoothly. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who's stopped by so far.

Clorox Makes Things Dirty


A few weeks ago my sister alerted me to an inadvertently hilarious Clorox commercial that aired during Mad Men. It was on again the other night, and thanks to some awkward grammar it's still danged funny. In case you don't catch the oops or can't play the video, you'll find the relevant lines transcribed in the first comment on this post.